With the international rollout of Disney+ in full swing, Disney has been making big changes to its traditional television networks, as it moves its content over to Disney+.

When Disney purchased 20th Century Fox, they obtained a large number of TV networks around the world including Fox, Star, National Geographic and more, in addition to their own Disney Channels.

Last year multiple Disney Channels were closed down around the world, including in Australia and in the United Kingdom.  With Disney also set to close down the Fox channel in the UK next month and another 18 channels in South East Asia later this year.

During a recent interview with Walt Disney CEO Bob Chapek at the J.P. Morgan Global Technology, Media And Communications Conference.  He was asked if more international cable networks are going to be closing, and he replied:

Well, we closed 30 channels in FY2020 or in 2020. We plan to close 100 in 2021. So yes, we will continue and continue at a robust rate. And then the content to your question, we’ll continue to migrate to Disney+, the great majority of that content will migrate to Disney+. And again, the decisions that we make in individual channels and individual markets, and the timing of such are sort of framed up by existing deals that we’ve gotten some of the constraints we’ve got there, but as you can see, that continues to be a core strategy for us as we pivot towards direct-to-consumer.

There are still many countries within Eastern Europe, Africa, The Middle East and in Asia, that don’t yet have Disney+ available.   So we should expect a lot more channels in those regions to be closed later this year, once Disney+ launches in those regions.

Disney is set to launch another streaming service Star+ in Latin America in late August.  This could lead the way for Disney to close down more TV channels in that region as well.

All of these closures will make Disney+ the main destination for content around the world, especially with the inclusion of the Star general entertainment brand.

Do you still watch traditional TV channels?

Roger Palmer

Roger has been a Disney fan since he was a kid and this interest has grown over the years. He has visited Disney Parks around the globe and has a vast collection of Disney movies and collectibles. He is the owner of What's On Disney Plus & DisKingdom. Email: Roger@WhatsOnDisneyPlus.com Twitter: Twitter.com/RogPalmerUK Facebook: Facebook.com/rogpalmeruk

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  1. Cioarec Stelian May 25, 2021

    Hey, when do you think they would announce Eastern Europe launch date ? They haven't said a single word since December.

  2. Snorebutt May 25, 2021

    I watch about 2 hours of traditional TV, but today, the internet has more than enough proof that online streaming is no longer a fad. So it basically makes sense that all the Disney channels are going away forever. The business of television is a fickle and complex system. And, one day, our grandkids will be all like, "What is this Disney "channel" you speak of, grandpa?" I'm sure when Disney shuts down the American TV channel, we'll just get a miniseries that explains the history of Disney channel.

    1. Brett charland May 25, 2021

      Please don’t close down the USA Disney Channel!!!

  3. Chris May 25, 2021

    Case study: Romania. From what I know, it's the second-largest pay-TV market in Eastern Europe, after Poland, with a little over 7M subscribers (which is almost 100% of the total television market). Cable is the dominant form of watching television, as there is no DTT (there is, but it only offers the State channels, so not attractive at all). There is one provider who has almost 5M subscribers, so that's 71% of the pay-TV market. The average price for cable TV (there is one basic package) is €6 and includes National Geographic (in HD), Nat Geo Wild (in HD), Disney Channel, Disney Junior, along other networks (such as Cartoon Network, Discovery Channel, TLC, BBC Earth, Eurosport, Nickelodeon, AXN, TNT, Comedy Central, AMC, Boomerang etc). Who wants HBO and Cinemax, or UHD, pays more (with prices ranging between €1 and €3). One more important aspect: the purchasing power is rather low; VOD/Premium is only popular among people with 'possibilities', 5 years after Netflix came in Romania, the company seems to be stuck at 500,000 subscribers (according to a study) and this number mostly reflects the people who want more than just basic cable and not cord-cutters (why would someone cord-cut at €6 when there's a lot a content, and in full HD, for this price? Netflix starts at €8 and it's only in dreadful 480p) Unfortunately, there's no data about HBO or HBO GO, but it's cheaper to acquire it via cable than without it. So that's one streaming service encouraging cable TV. Now for the big question: why would Disney even want to think about closing the National Geographic and Disney channels in a country where: 1. Disney Channel, Disney Junior, Nat Geo, Nat Geo Wild have almost 99% distribution (all big providers offer them, except Orange who doesn't have the Nat Geo channels, but they have a small market share atm) - so that's a lot of money from cable/satellite distribution alone; 2. They have decent ratings and make a lot of cash from commercials too. I really don't expect Disney+ to be a success in this country, especially if they come with plans starting at $8. At best, they will eat Netflix's share, but I really really doubt there will be many people paying for both Netflix, Disney+ and HBO at the same time. It's too expensive, it's almost three times the basic cable price! And who would even want to give up HBO GO (€3, in HD!) for Netflix SD (€8) or Disney+, in case they'll be expensive?

  4. Anon May 25, 2021

    And yet they have no plans to launch Disney+ in smaller markets in Asia, including other South Asian countries other than India. Disney has had a very bad track record in this region and this decision will lead to huge increase in piracy if they don’t roll out Disney+ everywhere. If Netflix can do it why can’t they?

  5. Chris May 25, 2021

    Just to be clear, Disney doesn't own the American broadcast network Fox. That was not part of Disney's purchase and is still owned by the corporation that also still owns Fox News, Fox Business, and the national Fox Sports channels. Disney did buy the Fox-owned cable entertainment channels like FX, FXX, Fox Movies, and Freeform.

    1. ScionStorm May 26, 2021

      Disney already owned Freeform. Its just the old ABC Family channel but rebranded.

      1. Chris May 27, 2021

        Oh, yeah, that's right. Disney bought it in 2001 when it was called Fox Family. Thanks for the correction.

  6. Chris May 26, 2021

    It would be disappointing to close the National Geographic channels (and the Disney channels too) in the Eastern Europe, cable and broadband are quite cheap here (and almost everybody has either cable or satellite subscription) and I don't expect Disney+ to be cheap/accessible. 😕

    1. Danny October 7, 2021

      I Can't wait for Disney close channel in Australia pay TV Foxtail $90 per month like National Geographic 20 shows on the Disney+ $120 a year